Now I love playing football as much as the next fanatic and the idea of being able to earn my living doing so is such an envious thought I can’t allow it to enter my mind without letting out an exasperated sigh.
So in that respect I don’t have sympathy for Premier League footballers; in fact mere green eyed jealousy but one player who has been a real figure in my mind throughout this window is Aston Villa full-back Stephen Warnock.
Hard working, dedicated and unassuming he is most managers dream and despite his performances dipping in recent years the 30-year-old still has plenty to offer at Villa Park. Paul Lambert has every right of course to exercise his design on his new squad and that involves bringing in young players from the lower leagues such as Warnock’s apparent replacement Joe Bennett. This is commendable of course, the lower league performers deserve a crack at the big time and Lambert is providing them with said opportunity.
However the way in which Warnock is reportedly being forced out of the club is deplorable. Aston Villa are trying to lower their wage bill during these times of tight purse strings and Warnock was signed on a hefty wage from Blackburn by Martin O’Neill as Villa pushed for Europe.
But to make a professional go and train with the younger players simply for such reasons is unfair. Lambert has made it very publically clear that Warnock is not available, a man to his dog could tell you this, but to deliberately disassociate him from the first team picture to force him into a move is just not on.
If I was Stephen Warnock I would take a leaf out of Wayne Bridge’s book and stay. As much as fans like to complain when players do not stick to their promised contracts the same isn’t said when a club suddenly decide they no longer want a player; decide to make his employment unbearable in order for him to ask to leave. Forgo all bonuses and the lot to play first team football. Warnock is more than entitled to stay at Villa and milk them for every penny they owe him.
Sure footballers make a lot of money, that is a given, but it is not the players fault. If someone offered you a £50,000 a week contract for example would you say no thank you, that’s too much?
But the impression is he is desperate for a move and nobody is willing to spend on a 30 year old left-back in this competitive market. He would have to take a huge wagecut, potentially move his family, and adjust mortgage repayments.
So why shouldn’t Stephen, or any other player who finds themselves in a similar position, rightfully force themselves out of a transfer, stay until their contract runs out and take all the money the club promised them.
It is easy to get on a footballers back, but sometimes it is good to flip the other side of the coin.